A Chinese character meaning "Between the two".


Other translation is to introduce, to lie between and boundary.



Our project is about a village in the Xi-Xi'an area of Xi'an. Only 10 year ago it was surrounded by farmland, but now Xi’an has grown to its doorstep.

The proposed plans for the village are for it to be demolished, but we suggest an alternative solution.


Jiè is a zone that, as the name suggests, will “lie between” the village and the high rise. It will work as an urban power plant in two senses. Firstly it will transfer qualities between the village and the surroundings and facilitate places for synergies to occur between the two areas. Secondly it will provide green energy


In this way the village is given time to develop in its own speed and withstand the pressure from the growing city. Jiè will work as a meeting place for people from both the village and the surroundings, and over time social and urban fabrics found in the village today can be spread.


But why do we want to preserve the village instead of demolishing it as the government are suggesting?

The village was established over 600 years ago, and during this time some social fabrics has had the time to be embedded in the village. These social and physical qualities are not present in the highrise, so if the village is demolished they will disappear.

Following are an explanation of the different social fabrics we found in the urban village, and how they are connected to the spatial layout of the village compared to the high rises.


When new high rise areas are built around the village, it will take a lot of time for these qualities to appear there. By keeping the village and introducing Jiè, we hope to speed up the the process this will take, and make the social fabrics of the village spread out to its surroundings.


Embedded time

There are many actors involved in the development of Jiè. But who are they?


Villagers co-op





The villagers own the land in and around the village and are a key part in its development. The villagers have savings to invest, traditions to share, knowledge, workforce and entrepreneurial spirit. The villagers needs access to healthcare and education facilities, energy supply, food supply, new incomes, a way to manage their waste situation and upgrading the village.


Housing cooperation


Creating a housing cooperation, in the model of the Norwegian borettslag, will make it possible for the villagers to make joint decisions for the future of the village.


Each owner in the village will receive a number of shares. The number is calculated based on the amount of property owned. The co-op owns the houses and the property of the village. The board of directors, elected at the annual general meeting, will administer the land of the village, and the profits from selling or renting out the land.


The migrant renters are the main workforce of urban villages.


The migrants come from all over China to improve their life conditions and also to send back home some of the benefits they earn in the city. They need a cheap place to stay near to their workplaces. Therefore, they usually live in the urban villages, where they can find also jobs and place to start businesses at good prices. There, they can hopefully become a part of the community that is built by the villagers.

With Jié, Xi’an’s inhabitants can get energy from renewable sources, food supply, health care and education facilities and find a new income in the different programs of Jié. They can also find in Jié the spatial qualities they miss to speed up their social fabrics. In return, inhabitants outside the village can provide to Jié waste to produce energy, knowledge, workforce and entrepreneurial spirit necessary for its development.

There is a big part of the Chinese society that is eager to invest and has the means to do so. Two of the aspects that are included in Jiè are the energy research or the building construction and the investors are welcome to invest in these.


Investors have technologies, knowledges and the money to invest in Jié. The investors are are interested in good investments opportunities. Energy companies are in need of spaces to research, and cheap plots to do it on.

The government is interested in raising the share of renewable energies in China. They want to improve and develope the area as it is the start of the new silk road, and they need to solve the problem of integrating the urban migrants. It is also the government's responsibility to provide public facilities such as schools, public spaces and health care.

These actors are quite different. What needs and resources do each of them have?

By studying these needs and resources we looked at how they can be connected. Is there potential for certain programs to be placed in Jié based on these factors?

We propose the following programs based on the needs and resources of the actors of Jiè.


The 7 programs implemented in Jiè are to be done in a total of 4 steps. Following we introduce what the programs are, why we implement them, and who are the actors involved.


In addition to the 7 programs in Jiè, we also introduce other aspects concerning both the village and the Jiè. This together with already existing aspects of the area, will give a better development of both the village, Jiè, and the surrounding area.


Each step of Jiè is done based on an investment plan. After each step the profit is used to implement the next step.

As Jiè is established synergies between the programs, the village and the highrise appears. How are they all connected, and how do each program contribute to its surroundings?


Bio-Gas Plant


Housing & Business


Vertical Farm

Public Space


14 340m2



Waste management will be one of the main issues solved by Jié in order to improve the hygiene of the village.


405 000 people live within a 2 km radius they produce 324 tons of waste a day.

The 16 000 inhabitants in the village produce 13 tons of waste a day.


Converted in to energy by the biogas plant this can produce enough energy to cover the needs of Houweizhai eight times.


Having workers from both the village and the city, the knowledge of how to build and run a biogas plant will spread to the village and the social fabric from the village will spread to the city.

37 000m2



The education part of Jié consists of three different parts; one education & research centre, one primary school, and many kindergartens.


To provide the necessary academic knowledge people form the city come here to teach. Also villagers, especially migrants and the elderly, are contributing in the teaching with their knowledge of farming, construction and traditions.


In return the education is providing new knowledge and skills to both the villagers and the city people in the area. The city gets educated workers, and the villagers learn how to implement renewable energy in their homes.

92 000m2



The mixed housing and businesses districts will provide housing for 12 000 people and work, in its offices or shops for 10 000 people.


Both people from the village and the surrounding city will work together here.

1 800m2



The knowledge and know how to build and run the geo-thermal plant comes from an energy company from outside the village.


From working in the plant villagers will get the knowledge of how it works.


The energy the factories produce is enough to cover the needs for 42 000 households or eight villages.

2 000m2



The knowledge and technology for the vertical farms comes from the investing company and not from the village. But the village consists of former farmers and rural migrants that are easy to teach.


The farm will produce enough food to almost cover the villages food needs. The food is sold in the market on the ground floor of the factory.



20 000m2



The village today use the streets as their public space. This is possible because of the street structure of the village. But it is not ideal. The park fills the villagers need for a space to gather for festivals and weddings.


It will also work as a meeting place between the villagers and the city.


27 000m2



The educated doctors and nurses will come from the surrounding city. Jobs that do not require these skills can be villagers.


It will provide 230 hospital beds for the surrounding city and 72 hospital beds for the village.

We took a closer look to three of the programs in Jiè. Let’s see how the business, the learning centre and the geothermal plant works.

Learning centre


Geothermal Powerplant


Jiè can easily be be used as a model for other rural and urban villages that also suffer the pressure of being transformed or demolished.


By keeping some core elements of Jiè, the concept can be custom made for each village with some bonus elements that is not necessary for Jiè to work, and some site specific programs.



What if, not just one, but every village has Jie?

To read more about the project and find all our calculations and sources, click the the icons below or the book icon in the side menu.

Excel sheets              PDF


Ole Møystad, Mads Nermo, Jostein Breines,

Thea Hougsrud Andreassen and Tarjei Zakarias Ekelund


Maren Gerhardsen Ulvik || Morgane Ohanian || Clara Aresté Florensa || Halvard Bergan Paus || Jonas Velken Kvernland


Urban Triggers Course 2015